Forest Farming & Permaculture: The demonstration garden

The Marshall Native Gardens: Forest Farm Permaculture Garden

Permaculture forest farming is an important approach to land use which mimics natural forest succession to produce diverse, useful yields such as food, medicine, charcoal, and building and craft materials which will be playing a significant role in the ability of our region and of the world to adapt as climate change, economic contraction, desertification and topsoil loss, population pressures and rapid spread of crop pathogens make conventional agriculture mostly obsolete in the next 30 years.

The MNGI “Forest Farm” polyculture garden is a small-scale demonstration of these techniques for landowners and farmers who are interested in learning about and implementing them on their own properties. It is hoped that this garden will also serve as a seed and cuttings source for local farmers.

Changes have occurred since the initial plan was first created and implemented in fall 2011. Subsequent years have included pruning, finessing of the water flow through the landscape via swales and water bars, new plantings of useful shrubs and groundcovers. Future plans include weaving living willow erosion barriers and innoculating mushroom patches and logs.

The next time you visit the library, take a walk through the forest farm demonstration area. Walk the paths and check out the interpretive signage. Learn about how the garden was designed to take into consideration the slope and drainage of the land.

Please drop us an email for more information and/or to volunteer to assist with this important demonstration garden.
                                                                                                                                                 -- Ed McNally

Below is a list of some of the plants that were used... or will be used... in the forest farm project.                           
 Hazelnut or Filbert      Corylus americana
 Locust Robinia pseudoacacia
 American persimmon     Diospyros virginiana
 Elderberry   Sambucus canadensis
 Tag Alder   Alnus rubra
 Mulberry, white and red Morus alba and Morus rubra
 Northern highbush blueberry     Vaccinium corymbosum
 Aronia    Aronia melanocarpa
 Serviceberry  Amelanchier alnifolia
 Cornelian cherry     Cornus mas
 Asclepias incarta Swamp milkweed
 Sochan       Rudbeckia laciniata
 Comfrey       Symphytum uplandicum
 Strawberry       Fragaria vesca
 Black-eyed Susan  'Goldstrum' Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum'
 Monarda  Monarda fistulosa
 Angelica      Angelica archangelica
 Yarrow     Achillea millefolium
 New Jersey tea  ceanothus americanus
 Jostaberry Ribes
 Black currants
 Ribes nigrum
 Flowering raspberry
 Rubus odoratus
Tag alder alnus rubra
 Basswood / American linden Tilia Americana
 Sweet oak     Quercus dentata
 Yaupon holly
 Ilex vomitoria
 Pawpaw Asimina triloba
 Willow, both yellow and red curly willow Salix